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Erdogan tells Abbas rising tensions ‘no good’ for Israelis, Palestinians

Turkish leader hosts PA president, says his government ‘backs efforts to accelerate the peace process’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during an official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on August 28, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during an official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on August 28, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ankara, and said finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be beneficial to both sides.

“To find a solution and provide peace is not only in Palestinians’ favor but also that of Israel,” he said at a joint press conference with Abbas according to reports in Turkish media. “As we witnessed during events, rising tension is not good for either side.”

Abbas and Erdogan reportedly discussed Israeli “acts of aggression” during the recent uptick in tensions surrounding the Temple Mount holy site, in the wake of a deadly terror attack at the Jerusalem holy site.

Erdogan called the two-state solution to the conflict as the “historical responsibility of the international community to the Palestinian people,” and said that his government “always back[s] efforts to accelerate the peace process.”

“We do not want the holy city of Jerusalem, which we have served for four centuries, to dominate the news with blood, tears and conflict,” the Turkish leader said.

According to the official PA news outlet Wafa, the two leaders also discussed ongoing efforts to end the schism between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Muslims pray at the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017.(AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
Muslims pray at the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017.(AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Last week, Erdogan, joined by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, called for new “serious and effective” peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Meeting in Amman, they urged “the resumption of serious and effective negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel to end the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution, to assure an independent Palestinian state with June 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as capital.”

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since the failure of US mediation in the spring of 2014.

“New peace negotiations must take place according to a precise timetable and be based on international resolutions,” Erdogan and Abdullah said.

They also expressed their “unequivocal rejection of any attempt to change the legal and historical situation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and any unilateral Israeli action threatening the identity of East Jerusalem.”

The sensitive Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City was the focus last month of a tense standoff, after Israel introduced new security measures following a terror attack in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two police officers using weapons smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Jordan’s king said earlier this month that a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was becoming increasingly difficult.

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